Fork in the Road: Customers find Cook’s American Grill feels like ‘family’

Live at Five
Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 4:13 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Cheer’s isn’t the only place where everybody knows your name. Customers and staff at Cook’s American Grill are often on a first-name basis.

The lunch crowd was hopping at Cook’s American Grill on Tuesday. Bob and Barb Kirkwood have been coming here for almost two decades.

“It’s always good food, no matter what you order on the menu,” Bob Kirkwood explained.

Still, there’s one item that’s ordered the most.

“Could I get a double cheeseburger please?” a customer asked the waitress behind the counter as he stood in line to order.

“We’re kind of famous for that because we use the Velveta cheese instead of the regular sliced cheese,” owner Jessy Holcomb said. “Nice and gooey cheeseburgers.”

But for Bob, he’s a creature of habit, and it just so happened that his favorite food was also the special.

“Crispy chicken dinner bowl. It’s got chunks of crispy chicken and potatoes and it’s just, it’s just great,” Bob told us.

The Kirkwood’s once had family ties to the place.

“Our son started working here while he was still in high school and he worked here for about 17 years,” Bob said.

Now, coming to Cook’s is just part of their regular routine. And, it’s routine that gathered a Sunday school group from Topeka Bible Church around the table Tuesday. They meet to eat at a different restaurant every week.

“It was time to come to Cook’s and they’ve got the best pork tenderloin in town, so it’s always high on our list,” Pete Bostwick said when asked why they picked that particular place.

Owners Jessy and Shawnda Holcomb are proud of the legacy they’ve carefully crafted over the past 20 years--one burger at a time.

“Some of the kids we were seeing when we bought the place are parents of their own now,” Jessy said with a smile.

After seeing all of the delicious, home-cooked comfort food, you have to ask yourself: why cook, when you can go to Cook’s?

“I’ve not had anything here that I didn’t like,” Bob said with certainty.

Cook’s American Grill is open from 7 A.M. To 8 P.M. Tuesday through Saturday at 1936 Southwest Gage Boulevard in Topeka. They offer carry out, and online ordering is available at

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